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From October 2-8, 2009, the Missouri Botanical Garden hosted the International Symposium for Plant Conservation in the Caucasus Region. Financial support was provided by the Trust for Mutual Understanding.
The major Symposium goals were:
President of the Missouri Botanical Garden Dr. Peter Raven and the head of the Center of Conservation and Sustainable Development Olga Martha Montiel welcomed the guests from six Caucasian countries. The participants were invited to visit different departments at the MBG. They were acquainted with the Herbarium and Conservation Departments.
The symposium participants also saw: the Shaw Natural Reserve, the Butterfly House, the Missouri Market, and MBG’s Library. Being in St. Louis, our guests from the Caucasus learned how to organize research work and contemporary plant collections using modern technology. It was especially important for the scientists from Georgia where a new herbarium building will be constructed. The Caucasian botanists are in a position to change some methods of conservation in natural reserves and make them similar to that MBG carries on. Our guests got some suggestions how to continue collaboration with American institutions such as the United States Department of Agriculture, Ball Horticultural Company (their representatives attended the symposium), and with other American botanical gardens.
The botanists from the Caucasus have also decided how to finish the Red Book. Drafts for the entire manuscripts are ready. The data were collected by the six participating countries separately. Dr. James Solomon has suggested that each country would check materials provided by the neighboring country to be sure that none of the species is missed. When the corrections are summarized the material will be published by the Missouri Botanical Garden Press.
On October 7, all lectures were opened to the public. Among the audience were botanists and gardeners from the Missouri Botanical Garden, from other American botanical institutions such as Washington University, St. Louis, University of Missouri, St. Louis, St. Louis University, University of Berkley, California, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Utah State University, Logan. Representatives from USDA, Ball Horticultural Company, Iris Horticultural Society, and Herbs Society etc. were also there.
The botanists from the Caucasus delivered talks about the flora and vegetation of their countries. A short general introduction was made by Dr. Tatyana Shulkina.
The speakers were:
The staff of the Research Department organized a farewell dinner for the guests from the Caucasus region. Our visitors and American specialists became friends. They have reached mutual understanding – a very important result of this symposium.
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